Culture


Daughter Dating Declarations Deconstructed

Note: This is another guest post by Emilia. Thanks, Emi! James is wholly responsible for the alliterative title; no blame should be placed on Emilia for such a travesty. “Funny” images like this get linked on social media all the time. You have probably seen one of these and if…


Human Societies as Feedback Systems

One of the most important insights I’ve picked up over the years is the concept of constructivism–the idea that all human knowledge is generated from the interactions between our experiences and ideas which we’ve previously absorbed. Our current understanding is that all knowledge is built in this way, by taking…


The Necessity of Work

Why do I have a job? Why do you? Why does anyone? If you’re lucky, what you do for a living is something you enjoy, or at least don’t have any strong negative feelings about. Otherwise, you might feel indifferent about your source of income, or even hate it but…


Mizzou and the Making of Heroes

Over the past few days, the University of Missouri (nicknamed “Mizzou”) made national headlines, first as its football team threatened not to play unless the university President stepped down, and then as, on Monday, both the President and Chancellor resigned. The seeming climax of the story is what made it…


Autism is not a tragedy. Ignorance is the tragedy.

Rethinking Autism

The phrase “autism epidemic” is thrown around so much it’s taken for granted. Autism is widely seen as a terrible burden, a fate often said to “tear families apart.” Autistic children and even adults are described in terms that make them out to be liabilities, rather than human beings worthy…


Things That Shape History… That Aren’t White Men

This is a guest post by Emilia. Enjoy! James has visited one of America’s founding myths – the just war – already so why not take down another while we are at it? There is one that is rarely questioned because it gives us a convenient and simple narrative for……


Being a Good Ally

Everyone has their own approach to being an ally. I’m not here to say who is right and wrong, just to share what I’ve learned in the course of trying to be a better ally, myself. Becoming better is, honestly, all there is: you will never be perfect, or at…


Halloween: Horror, Racism, and Appropriation

I didn’t think this was the sort of thing I’d still have a reason to write about in 2015, but here we are. Another Halloween, another parade of white people who think blackface is OK. That may be one of the worst choices out there, but there are plenty of…


The Roots of American Dysfunction

As a rule, systems fascinate me. Technical systems, political systems, cultural systems–you name it. The country in which I live–the United States–makes for a particularly puzzling, sometimes aggravating system. In this case, “dysfunction” doesn’t mean the system is bad, but it does point to a system that is not functioning…